Message from Russ and Aree

Russ and Aree provide the members with weekly or bi-weekly updates on the progress and visions of ClubFA and FAResorts. Read the entire story to current by reading from the bottom up.

russaree-newsletter

5/11/2016   It has been two weeks since I was able to take the time to write a Blog.

I attended a Seminar in Las Vegas that took three days out of my work week. It was very interesting and I learned how to transfer a person’s IRA money through the IRA to fund a 10% secured investment in Freedom Acres Resort. The returns would be made tax deferred to the IRA account.

Although I don’t intend to do an investment program where a group of investors invest in the Resort, I learned about the law change on May 16th 2016 that allows unlimited investors to invest, instead of only 35, and comply with SEC laws and restrictions. Other sources of investment revenue were presented to me to take advantage and grow.

The investment groups were surprised that I was offering 10% interest. They are only offering 6% to 8% return.

Body Painter Jeff’s Swing 101 classes are growing on Friday nights at 9:00 PM in the lounge. Not only do the people learn a lot and get entertained with Jeff’s presentation techniques, but at the end of the presentation, he gives a “graduation present” of a ½ Friday pass for attending.

The class lasts until 10:00PM when I have to break it up so people can come to my monologue session and give away passes for birthday, anniversaries and etc.

Then, at 11:00 PM we have the Karaoke contest where we give away about $450 in cash and passes. That contest has become so popular that that contestant list is generally filled by 8:30. We take only 5 contestants. The contest itself has become a show so big that there is generally standing room only in the lounge.

Since I haven’t written for two weeks, I have more to say, but a Blog is supposed to be short. So until next week,

Play Safe.

Russ

4/21/2016  Body Painter Jeff is continuing to give his Swing 101 classes at 9:00PM on Friday nights. Not only do you pick up pointers on how to react to different situations, but Jeff is entertaining as well. He is well received in the local colleges for his seminars and keeps the kids entertained.

We have had a request from a Las Vegas hypnotist to perform at Freedom Acres. We are trying to determine whether he would be best at the club or the Resort. Any comments?

Because we have just about run out of spots for new RVs at the Resort, we are starting to get the plateau behind the pavilion upgraded to accept new RVs. We have had concerns from the people that bring in large Motor Homes and use our pull through spots, that their locations may disappear. We are not planning to use those locations presently. We hope to be able to develop new areas and leave the pull through spots for our “Big Boy” customers.

Even though we had competition from Coachella and the Long Beach Grand Prix, this past weekend, we still had approximately 200 couples attend on Saturday night at the Club. We appreciate your dedication to your home away from home. Even though we get about 40 new members every weekend, it is your regular attendance that makes the Club the comfortable place to party.

4/13/2016  When Michael moved from Thailand to the USA to help us with the Resort, his historic comment after being here a few months, “The US does not have 24 hours in a day.” He is so busy, the hours in the day fly by.

The parking lot of the Club got resurfaced this week!  We still have some more resurface material to come.

The asphalt is from the grindings of the old Route 66, as Cal Trans puts in their new roads. So not only do we have a historic building, the original Devore school house, (I submit, it’s still a school house today), but the parking lot is the remains of historic Route 66.

We are getting a lot of compliments from members as to the improvement of the resurfacing of both the Club and the Resort.

We have purchased so many RVs that we are running out of spots to put them. Thus, we are removing the older, not so nice RVs, and replacing them with our newer upgrades. We are working on making some new spots, but each area requires some engineering and structure work.

Again, as I have always said, all it takes is time and money, and lots of both.  Have a great week, and  Play safe,

Russ

4/5/2016   This has been a very busy week.
We added two additional RVs to the park, and even then sold out everything this past weekend, with a waiting list. We are looking to buy 7 or 8 new RVs this month. The investors have put the money into our bank account and we have to put it to work. We thank all the people working together to make the Resort “the best”.

We had 90 truckloads of base grindings delivered to the Resort with more to come. We intend to cover all the roads in the Resort to reduce the dust and make all the roads smoother to navigate.
We are slowly moving the furniture we received from the hotel in Santa Monica from the Connex boxes to the rental units to upgrade everything for your pleasure and enjoyment. It is heavy and requires much manpower to improve the units. It will take us many weeks to complete.

Next week we will be going to San Diego to pick up some very valuable kitchen equipment that was donated by one of our members. Thanks again for your help and consideration.

The Club had the best Karaoke contest ever this past Friday. The show would have made a hit on TV. Every singer was a star. It’s going to take a lot of talent to top that.

Don’t forget the Swing 101 Classes at 9:00 PM on Friday nights in the Lounge.

Until next week,
Play safe
Russ

3/28/2016  While talking about the historical progression of the Club and the Resort, it is only fair to mention some history on the Lifestyle itself.

Body Painter Jeff gives a “Swing 101” seminar every Friday at 9:00 PM in the Club lounge. This seminar has 14 chapters to it, and touches on all phases of swinging, including some history and personal experiences. Please be on time, because promptly at 10:00 PM Russ stops the seminar to start his main stage monolog and pass giveaways.

I don’t normally do commercials in my blog, but there is a very good friend of the Club and mine that deserves some recognition and could possibly be of help to some of our members. Scott and Nicholetta, the owners of Kasidie.com are sponsoring a Crowd Funding Seminar in Las Vegas, April The 26th and 27th. If anyone wanted to raise money for any reason through Crowd Funding, this is the Seminar to attend. Check it out at http://fundit.us/. As most of you know, we have promotional cards for Kasidie on our tables in the Club that give you, the members substantial discounts, thanks to Scott and Nicholleta.

Aree and I will be attending, and possibly learning how to sweeten the pot for our investment program to buy more 5th wheel trailers for the Resort, or give more discounts for the Club.

I don’t know if you have noticed, but our attendance numbers have increased by about 20 to 25 percent in the last two months over last year’s numbers. We accredit that to the fact that we have made our presence known through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+, with a full time service person to handle our Social Media Accounts. We want to do whatever is necessary to make this the best Club in the world.

Until next week,

Play safe,

Russ

3/23/2016   This past week has been a very busy week for the Club and the Resort.

We were offered the opportunity to “clean out” 30 rooms of a high end hotel in Santa Monica, that was remodeling all their rooms. We acquired furniture, large wide screen TVs, bathroom fixtures, bedroom fixtures, desks, etc. We had to buy two 40 foot connex boxes to store everything we were able to acquire. We would like to thank our Resort and Club member for donating this substantially valuable addition to our facilities. There is no way, at this stage of our development  that we could have afforded to purchase all this furniture and fixtures. It took 11 men (and two hard working women), two 13 hour days to load and unload our bounty in four large U-haul trucks loaded and unloaded twice.

The next month, or longer, we will be placing everything in places where needed to improve the facilities of the Club and Resort.

Then, at the same time, we were offered a substantial amount of restaurant and office equipment from one of our members in San Diego. When it rains, it pours. (All good, of course). That will be next week’s project.

Until next week then,

Play safe.

 

Russ

3/15/2016   March 28th 1940 in a little coal mining town named  Clearfield  Pennsylvania, population 9200, the entrepreneur and architect of Freedom Acres and Freedom Acres Resort, Russ Thomas was born. It doesn’t take much math to determine that in less than two weeks, Russ will be 76 years old. (or young?) Russ was raised on a farm and lived in Clearfield until he was through the 10th grade. He lived with his grandparents, as his mother, a school teacher, died at age 38 from breast cancer. His grandfather determined that Russ wasn’t doing up to his potential in public school, so he spent  25% of his gross earnings to send Russ to private boarding school. From there Russ went on to Penn State University. After two years, Russ found that he was more interested in partying than studying. (Imagine that!) Russ decided to join the Navy to sow his wild oats. (Until this day, Russ is still “sowing”) After partying until two in the morning, and having to get up at 5:00 AM to go mess cooking, Russ asked what was the shortest officer  program. He was told “Naval Cadet. O.K. he said, sign me up. By the way, what is Naval Cadet? Flight training, he was told. And that began a 40 year career in aviation. Watch the movie “Officer and a Gentleman” with Richard Gere to see exactly what Russ went through for two years.

To be continued next week.

Play safe;

Russ

3/8/2016 The weather did not hold back the fight fans at the Club this past Sat.
We had approximately 400 people in attendance, and the results of the fights got everyone’s Adrenalin spiked. The energy was everywhere, including both dance floors and all bedroom areas.
We missed all the people who are in Hedo for Jenn’s Ms. No swim suit contest activities, but they missed a great party here.
 
I guess I need to give a clarification of the investment program we are offering, as I had several questions from members at the Club this past weekend.
Simply put, we want to buy fifth wheel RVs for between $10,000 and $15,000. If a member invests in our program, they will be listed as lien holder on the RV, the same as a bank is on an auto loan. They will receive a 10% interest investment amortized over five years, the same as an amortized car loan. In other words, a secured loan offering 10% interest.
You will notice we are moving around some RVs on at the Resort to make room for the new purchases. We are running out of spots to continue this investment program. So far, in the last two months, we have purchased five new units, and have commitments from members to purchase several more.
When our available spaces are filled, we will have to pause to develop more spots with utility hookups. That may take awhile.
 
Those members in attendance at the Resort may have noticed we are completely redoing and resurfacing the main Jacuzzi. That should be completed by this weekend. Again, your Resort fees at work.
Until next week,
play safe and enjoy life.
Russ

2/29/2016  This is the last day of February, and what a month it was. At the Club our Valentine’s Day party was bigger than NYE.

This past Saturday was the biggest non-holiday party in the history of Freedom Acres. The Resort cabins And RVs were sold out with a waiting list. The foam party was the biggest ever. And this is only FEBRUARY.

We have had a terrific offer from one of our members. If we get a team of between 15 and 20 men together and a big COMMERCIAL truck, we can go to Santa Monica and clean out a high end 15 to 20 room hotel. They want to remodel, and all the furniture, mattresses, and appliances are ours if we can coordinate a one day cleanout. If anyone has access to a large commercial truck and/or is willing to devote a day (for passes or cash) to help us out, contact Jason at the Resort at 909-880-0803 or email jason@freedomacresresorts.com .

This next week Tom and Bunny, Jerry and Brittany, Jeff the Body Painter, along with others are going to Hedonism to support our contestant for the Ms. No Swim Suit contest. Tom and Bunny have the envious job of taking all the Cruises, Conventions and Resort trips to promote the Club and the Resort. They get paid to party. What a job!!
I hope they PARTY SAFE,

Russ

2/22/2016  Aree is in Thailand for a month with our 4 year old daughter. She is up country on her parents farm. There is no internet, and Sarah has to do without her i-pad. In fact, when I met Aree, they had no phone service, no refrigerator, because the electricity only worked about half the time. And, of course there was no air conditioner with 95 degree, humid weather.

Sarah is learning Thai, because no one speaks English upcountry. She could understand Thai already, because her grandmother stayed with us for 6 months and spoke Thai to Sarah every day.

Now back to America.

For anyone visiting the Resort, you will notice that more and more of the vacant RV spots are getting filled up. It seems that an offer of 10% interest on a secured, amortized loan is very appealing to some people. When the available spots are gone we will have to come up with another investment strategy.

We now have a full time social media expert keeping us abreast of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the others. Please let us know if you notice the updated information. I’m always appreciative of comments on the world that I’m too damned old to follow up on.

I can fly a 747, but I can’t work a cell phone, but enough of that, at least  I can still get it up.

Play safe,

Russ

2/17/2016  This week I’m going to do a change up and give some personal information. I hear so many time, “Oh, I didn’t know you did this”.

But first let me give you a mini summary of the weekend.

We had a bigger Valentine’s party at the Club than the New Year’s Eve party. The Resort was sold out. Sunday party at the Club was nearly as big as the Super Bowl party, and that was huge.  There was a Rave in San Bernardino, and the Rave people are reading our ads for a place to stay.

Needless to say, we had some very young people enjoying our pool before and after the Rave.

But now back to the intent of this blog.

Aree and I met in Thailand in 1991. At the time, we were both married, so we and our spouses were social acquaintances. Later I got divorced, and thereafter she got divorced. It took me almost a year of dating her to convince her to come to America.

When I was living in Las Vegas, and she was going to school in Bangkok, dating was not an easy venture.  Fortunately, I was a senior Captain for United Air lines, and the South Pacific was my choice of routes, so I could layover in Bangkok about twice a month. Then I would take a vacation about every three months for two weeks, and, of course I would come to Thailand. When I finally got her to America, I convinced her to get married, and the rest is history.

There are a lot of interesting stories about our adventures in Thailand, but that is a story for another blog.

Until then, play safe,

 

Russ

2/10/2016   It’s hard to sit in the office and write a blog when the weather so beautiful outside.

We have such a great ambiance at the pool at the resort, with people sunning and no tan lines.

It’s hard to believe it’s the middle of Feb. and the East Coast is experiencing blizzard conditions.

This is Valentine’s  day weekend, and President’s Day weekend combined. We always get between 400 and 600 people on Valentine’s Day without President’s Day added on. This weekend could be a real blow out.

On Saturday we are awarding a Free Cabin on the MSC Divina Couples Cruise. (a $1538.00 value) on April 16th thru the 23rd.

On Sunday we are awarding a Convention Package (a $575 value) to the Naught in N’awlin’s Convention July 6th thru July 10th.

Friday is Lincoln’s BD and Monday is President’s Day so all the weekend parties should be a blowout.

We are getting calls and requests for more information for our investment package for RVs and also calls on people who want to get their RV out of their yard and into the Park.

It looks like it’s going to be a great year.

2/3/2016  We have been meeting with the person who has taken over our social media programs and it seems to be working well. We would appreciate any input if you have noticed more social media posts in the last couple weeks. My personal e-mail isrussaree@yahoo.com
 
Approximately every Monday morning Tom, Jason, Candice, Michael and I meet to make our plans for the week and discuss what is happening. Social media has been taking a lot of our time and conversation. Apparently, to run a full social media program is a full time job.
 
If you happen to drive by spot 37, that is one of our new investor 5th wheel RVs. We think it helps to dress up the Park. Also, our newest permanent tenant is making the Park look more upscale by adding a beautiful red wood deck and patio, and general outside upgrades.
 
Not only do our new residents and our investors help make the Park newer and more alive, but they also provide more income for the Resort to allow us to make more improvements.
 
The only negative is that we may soon run out of available spots. We are only licensed for a limited number.
Something unexpected happened when I announced our investment program last week. We had two members that have RVs that they don’t use, and they volunteered to allows us to put them on the park, and pay them in monthly installments until the agreed upon price is fulfilled. That seems to be a win win for both parties. If you have an idle RV that is not being used, and want to sell it on an installment basis, please contact me at russaree@yahoo.com, or (951) 545-1616.
Until next week,
 
Play safe.

1/26/2016  A lot has happened this week. We purchased two new RVs for the Resort to provide more rental units when we sell out in the warmer months. How did that happen if we were looking for investor money? Let me tell you the progression of my thinking over the last several months.

I was not comfortable with an equity investment program, because I did not have an exit plan, but just a growth plan. I had an investment LLC drawn up that I was going to include a package of investment loan money to purchase new RVs to grow the Park. But I was not comfortable with the Private Placement Memorandum and Securities Exchange procedures. Then Chris Crawford, the person from whom I bought the Resort, and who is on my Board of Advisors, suggested that I finance each newly purchased RV with an individual investor, with a monthly payment at 7% or 8% interest amortized over 5 years. That eliminates all the Security Exchange problems, and provides tangible security for the investor. Each investor will be an individual lien holder on his/her RV. That program is called Peer to Peer lending. I love anything that is KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). However I modified the suggestion somewhat. Instead of 7% or 8%, I decided to offer a 10% return. Plus, to put a more personal touch on the package, we are offering to allow the investor to name his/her individual RV. Also, when the RV is available, the investor may use it for FREE, on a standby basis. We are looking to buy RVs for between $11,000 and $15,000 per unit. If someone wants to invest less than that, we will pair them with another investor and make them joint lien holders on the RV. We have 15 spots available for investors, and have sold three already this week, the first week the package was available.

The other major problem I addressed last week was, how do we handle Social Media, which is the communication of the future (and present). There is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google plus, and others. Then there is the problem of how do we handle each of their restrictions concerning adult and Lifestyle content. We had many unsuccessful attempts to find someone that could handle our requirements. Then, we had a referral from a long time acquaintance, who has done Lifestyle websites, for a Social Media specialist that is also in the Lifestyle. I interviewed her on the phone and was so impressed, that I hired her over on the spot. So far, she is living up to all expectations.
I hope next week is as productive as this week was.

Play safe.

1/18/2016  We are still looking for leads on a virtual assistant to help with social media. Also there are other needs for virtual assistant help.
Because we have been so busy, I have not had time to work on the investor package this past week. It is surprisingly a lot of work to get a promising package put together properly. Hopefully, I will have more time next week.
There is so much to do and so little time.

We keep busy just making sure our current members are happy, without personally expanding social media. We had over 300 couples (six hundred people) just this past Friday and Saturday. We have 69 mattresses in our bedroom area, (purely by accident, not planned), and they were all busy with a waiting line on Saturday night.
The Resort was surprisingly busy this week, considering the weather was not cooperating. Jason’s pool tournament and karaoke are doing very well on Thursday nights. With two Thursdays under his belt and both being sold out for the tournament, it looks like it’s a hit.
People are more and more renting a cabin at the Resort on Club party nights so they can “drink responsibly” and not drink and drive. We see the increased revenue this January over last year at both the Resort and Club despite El Nino.

February will be a very busy month. the 5th and 6th we will be celebrating Mardi Gras at the Club. Saturday Feb. 6th we will have our first Mystery Theater dinner at the resort. It is a 3 hour program with dinner. The charge is $35 per person and we are presently 75% sold out. we can only accommodate 15 couples. Please call Candice at the Resort, (909) 887-8757 for reservations

Then the 7th is Super Bowl Sunday @ ClubFA. We will be open 1 hour before kickoff so everyone can get the seat of their choice to watch the big game. For information on the biggest Sunday party at ClubFA call us at 909-887-8757

The following weekend, Feb. 12th, 13th and 14th, is Valentine’s Day weekend. Valentine’s Day weekend is the 3rd largest weekend party of the year, next to Halloween and NYE. The reason is that valentine’s Day is a very romantic day, and what’s more romantic than going to Freedom Acres.
We will be giving away a $1500.00 Lifestyle Cruise package to some lucky winner on Sat. Feb. 13th, as well as other prizes. We will be awarding a $525.00 Convention package to Naughty n N’awlins to some lucky couple on Sunday, Feb. 14th Valentine’s Day. Sunday Valentines Day we will extend the normal Sunday hours and will be open from 3pm to Midnight and we will host our After Hours ORGY party from Midnight until 2am!

As I said, it will be a busy month at both the Club and Resort. come play, and play safe.
Russ

1/12/2016  One of the unexpected advantages of writing this weekly blog is the volunteer help that comes from members that want to help and be a part of the Freedom Acres family.
I would like to acknowledge a few that have offered their time and advice.

Photo Bill, for his leads to the Quartz area of Arizona for their Snowbird leads and RV sales opportunities, and his insight into SBA loans. Also, for his insight into building the Yurts on the plateau.

Chris Crawford, from whom I am purchasing the Resort, for his assistance in all the ins and outs of the Resort business. And also Ron Kemper, Chris’s partner, for all the assistance on any maintenance problems (and there have been many) that have arisen.

Rommel, who has a Master’s Degree in business, for his assistance in the technicalities of the business world.

Gena, who has a Master’s Degree in Social Media for her guidance on coordinating hiring a Virtual Assistant for Social Media operations.

Matt, an attorney, for legal guidance in times where advice was necessary.

Another attorney named Matt, that contributed an RV to the Resort.

Tim, for contributing a new pool table for the FA Café and taking it upon himself to improve the mobile home he likes to rent on some weekends.

Matt, a high end business executive, for his advice on what an investor would like and expect.

Body Painter Jeff for his expert drawings for promotions of both legal and future expectations .
And more that have contributed that I have not yet mentioned.

The Resort is a huge project that will be built with the help of many. But the Dream is worth the effort and everyone that contributes is greatly appreciated.

Thank you, and play safe,

Russ

1/5/2015  Another year in the history books, and what a year!

We had the highest number of couples in attendance since 2008.

Our Halloween party was the biggest party in Freedom Acres history, although our New Year’s Eve party was very close.

As far as the Resort, it too showed a very positive growth in 2015.

The foam parties have become a big hit, even in the cold weather. This past Saturday night we had over 100 people playing in the foam.

The weekend attendance at the FA Cafe is getting larger, as people come to enjoy the Saturday night karaoke fun.

During the eight warmer months we sell out our cabin and RV rentals every weekend. We have been continuously adding more units to keep up with the demand. This past year we have added two new mobile homes and seven RVs to our rental availability. The limiting factor, to keep up with demand, is investment capital. We have the demand, we just need the funds.   Obviously we are working on that. Nothing happens just by wishing it would.

Body Painter Jeff is an amazing artist, and is working on an artist’s rendition of the futuristic dreams of Freedom Acres Resort. some of the dreams will be completed this year, and some in future years.

We have not yet been able to find an outsourcing company to handle our social media needs. We may consider hiring someone “in house” to do the work. Social media has become the promotional method of the day, and the future, and we certainly have never been accused of being behind the times.

I get carried away when I write about “The Dream” so enough for this week.

Tune in next week for more of ” Russ Ramblings” and play safe.

12/28/2015 With the Holidays, it seems like there is not enough time to get everything done that is on our “To Do “ lists.

The Resort is sold out for NYE.

With the pre-pays that are coming in, it looks like we will have a record turnout for the Club’s NYE party.

This year will be the best year the Club has had since the 2008 recession.

And the Resort has had a 15% increase in attendance in 2015 over 2014.

We have the ability to create the biggest and best Lifestyle Resort in the Nation, with all the plans that are already on the drawing board. However the limiting factor at this point is the capital input. We have prepared an LLC investor package, but we have not yet put the finishing touches on it. I want to make a package that not only gives a good financial return to the investor, but also gives perks that makes sure that the member investor feels special and that we will acknowledge that they have made a contribution for the growth of the Resort, as well as additional financial perks from the Club and Resort.

Because there is so much to do, we are still searching for an outsourcing source to handle our social media and promotions.

Body Painter Jeff has created some great drawings of future projections for the Resort. After some final touches, we will display them, perhaps on the office walls. Thank you Jeff, for your artwork and creative ideas.

I would also like to thank other Lifestyle organizations that are partnering with us for our mutual benefit. Vegas Exchange, www.vegasexchange.com, for offering to cross promote for the 2016 Lifestyle Convention Aug 11th thru the 14th in Las Vegas.

Kasidie.com, for financial contributions and promotions for the benefit of Club FA.

Bob and Tess for contributing great promotional packages for Naughty in N’Awlins Convention July 6th to the 10th 2016. www.NaughtyinNawlins.com 800-304-4493.

Couples Cruise, an Adults-Only clothing optional cruise April 16th to 23rd 2016 800-927-6672

www.CouplesCruise.com

Play safe until next week.

Russ

12/22/2015

 

It is Tuesday the 22nd and I just returned home from Thailand.

It was an interesting adventure. One of my primary reasons for making the trip was to set up and outsource a relationship with a social media company to create and handle updating our social media sites.

I was not able to accomplish this. I could not find a company that was satisfactory to handle our needs even though the Google ads looked great.

My other options are to use a site that has been soliciting our Business from the Philippians, or one that has an interesting ad in Las Vegas. Also, we might find one of our members that is a “stay at home mom” that would be interested in doing a trade out for free attendance to our parties plus some cash. That person would have to be internet savvy, and be able to devote the required time to update all social media sites with our current promotions.

I have not yet checked in with the operations people at the Club or the Resort, but it appears that everything functioned “just fine” without me. Maybe I can afford to take a vacation more often.

Because it was a working vacation, I had a lot of time to research and plan for the future of both the Club and the Resort. It will be fun to get started with the new projects that we have in mind to build and improve the Resort.

In the meantime, I have to catch up with the details that happened while I was away.

Until next week, play safe,

Russ

12/12/2015

Again, as I mentioned last week, I am writing this blog from Thailand.

It is an interesting experiment and learning curve.

I have always maintained that our Club and Resort should be able to function normally with any key personnel absent. That was no problem with just the Club, but now that we also have the Resort, this is the first chance to test the theory.

Aree has only called me twice to ask operational questions. Tom of Tom and Bunny, our Club General Manager has stepped up to the plate and is handling the unexpected events that always occur. Jason and Candice are expanding the operations of the Resort with new programs and events.

So far, I am not missed!

But, in the meantime there is much to do here. I am investigating outsourcing companies to help relieve both the Club and the Resort. Tom has enough work to do for two management positions.

Hopefully I can find a way to provide some relief.

I have a great tour guide that had shown me some of the insights of different nightclubs of Bangkok. Obviously there is always much to learn and help the Club and Resort improve and grow.

For instance, check out the website www.Bangkoktreehouse.com.

We cannot go as far as they have with the Resort, but there are some good ideas here that we can use.

As far as the club scene goes, there are many to experience and learn from. www.LevelsClub.com, or www.Clubinsanitybangkok.com are just two of many. Again we should not try to copy, but learn from what we can use to improve Freedom Acres the Club.

I say this is a working vacation, but who is to say that I can’t “enjoy the ride”.

Until next week.

Miss you guys,

Russ

12/5/2015  

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, I am writing this message from Thailand.

Although I have come to Thailand many times for vacation, this is a business trip.

With the exponential growth of the internet, and the constant changes in technology, it has become obvious that we need more technical help to keep our promotions and growth current in today’s world. For instance, social media has exploded.

Thailand has several outsourcing centers that can handle our social medial needs, as well as other potential needs on a daily basis. That will help free our management team to focus on the other aspects of the Club and Resort growth.

I plan on personally visiting some of these companies in the next several days to determine if there is a fit with our operations.

Also, along the lines of our business growth, we have a new member of our management staff.

Michael Wegmueller has joined us to do International Promotions. This is a much need position in our shrinking world. Michael is a Swiss national, and ran a successful business in Thailand for many years. He speaks five languages and is invaluable to attracting foreign tourists. He is responsible for getting us listed on domestic and international travel booking agencies and is constantly looking for ways to expand our market.  Welcome Michael.

Next week I will elaborate more on our progress through history and future expectations.

Have a great week. Russ

11/29/2015  To follow with the Disneyland analysis, here is some opening day history.

Few smiles could be found at the “Happiest Place on Earth” when Disneyland opened its gates for the first time on July 17, 1955. Epic traffic jams, counterfeit tickets, broken rides, food shortages and a lack of water on a 100-degree day all plagued the theme park’s unveiling. On the 60th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland, we look back at the day park employees dubbed “Black Sunday.”

Although we did not have such obvious problems when we took over Deer Park and renamed it Freedom Acres Resort, we had to undertake upgrading of what had been 20 years of neglect.

Deer Park had become known as a very cheap Nudist retirement home. The Park consistently lost money for years. No wonder needed repairs and upgrades could not be done. And, no wonder, initial investors could not see the Dream.

We doubled the income the first year of operation, and with constantly adding new rental units, the income continues to increase. During 8 months of the annual peak season, we consistently sell out on the weekends, with a waiting list. Obviously, we need more rental units to continue to increase our income and profits. However, cash flow alone will not pay for the cash required to purchase the needed units.

Therefore, in the near future, we will be offering investment packages to help grow the Dream. We are not Hedo II or Disneyland yet, but we have come a long way in a short time and have a long way to get to where we want to go.

Next week I will be writing you from Thailand.
Have a great week.

11/22/2015  As I talked about in the last blog, I am researching companies I admire to see how they “did it”.

We described Hedo in the last blog and this week I would like to talk about Disneyland.

I have been told in the past, that Freedom Acres is a Disneyland for adults. That’s quite a complement, but the dream has to get much bigger in order to come close to living up to that comparison. Thus I had to do a review of how Disneyland got where they are today.

Disneyland cost $17 million to build in 1955, about $116 million in today’s dollars.

In financing a Place of Dreams;

First comes finding funding. While Walt Disney put up much of his own money to make his dream a reality, as I have with the Resort, he didn’t have enough personal money to complete the project. I know the feeling! Disney then contacted financiers to help. But however much Walt Disney was enthralled with the theme park idea, the financiers he approached were not. Again, I know the feeling.

Many of the financiers could not envision the monetary rewards of Disney’s place of dreams. This is what I ran into when I attempted to purchase the Resort. To gain financial support for his project, Disney turned to the new medium of television. Disney made a plan with ABC: ABC would help finance the park if Disney would produce a television show on their channel. ABC was one of the original financial backers and for years owned a share of the park.

To purchase the Resort, I got the help of the seller, who is in the financing business, to help seal the deal.

I have too much information to put in this week’s blog, so part two will be forthcoming next week.

11/15/2015  Even though I started these blogs as the history of Freedom Acres, it is hard not to talk about the high successes we are having today and the plans for tomorrow.

Saturday night we had 118 couples come through the doors before 9:00 P.M. and claim the “before nine “ discount.

We ended up having well over 200 couples attend the night, with the dance floor full until DJ Intensity got off at 3:00 A.M.

As far as plans for “tomorrow”, I will have to talk about the Resort. I started doing some research on companies that I admire and would like to follow their plans of development.

Someone I might consider a competitor of the Resort is Hedonism II.

Hedonism II opened in 1976 as “Negril Beach Village” and was given its current name in 1982. The resort was built by the Government of Jamaica at a cost of $10 million The resort occupies 22 acres at the northern end of Negril beach and has 280 rooms in two-story buildings. A 50% interest in the hotel was bought by the SuperClubs in 1989. SuperClubs purchased the remaining 50% of the resort in 1999 from the Financial Sector Adjustment Company Limited,  a unit of the Government of Jamaica, for $12.25 million and I have heard there was another $10 million put into reconstruction.

Obviously, we can’t compete with that kind of financial input … at the present time. But with the beginning plans on the drawing board, we are on our way, one step at a time.

As I mentioned previously, we are sold out, with a waiting list, every weekend for our rentals during the spring, summer, and fall months. Therefore, obviously, we need to purchase more rental units to further increase our income.

With more income comes more expansion. We have 20 acres of vacant flat land that we have started to investigate for future development plus the 20 acres that we have already developed. That is nearly twice the size of Hedonism. We also have a giant “wish list” to improve our existing facilities.

I’m getting too excited talking about it, so I will close for now and continue next  week.

11/8/2015  Another good weekend is in the books. We will have the best year this year, we have had since the 2008 recession. We are already ahead of last year.
As I mentioned before, we had no more room to expand until the Resort opportunity presented itself. When we improved the Club, we were able to do it through the Club proceeds and input from Russ personally.
However, we had only one building and 4 acres. With the Resort, we have approximately 70 buildings and units and 40 acres. Russ is too impatient to wait to improve the Resort to get to the reputation that the Club has.
Therefore we will be putting together an investment plan for our members that want to be a part of history.

Tom was talking to the owner of Hedonism last week and was told the when he purchased Hedonism, it was in terrible shape. there are a lot of comparable s between early Hedonism and the Freedom Acres Resort.
He said it took him five years to get Hedo. to his satisfaction for operation.

The gross income at the Resort this year was 20% above last year and operationally above breakeven. We are sold out, with a waiting list, every weekend for our rentals during the spring, summer, and fall months. Therefore, obviously, we need to purchase more rental units to further increase our income.
If you are interested in becoming a part of Freedom Acres Resort history, please contact Russ at his personal e-mail, russaree@yahoo.com

11/3/2015   WOW!! Halloween made history this year at the Club.

We had the biggest Saturday night in the history of Freedom Acres. The costumes on both Friday and Saturday nights were phenomenal. There were many that deserved to be in the finals, but too many to bring on stage all at once. We were still checking in new couples at 3:30 in the morning.

D.J. Intensity did a fantastic job, and the upper dance floor was packed at 3:30 A.M. Arms were in the air and the excitement was electric.

D.J. Richie kept the more romantic, less energetic couples entertained in the lounge and had to work past his normal quitting time with popular demand from the crowd.

A couple came into the Club on Friday night that entertains on cruise ships, and as a result, has the opportunity to visit Lifestyle Clubs all over the world, including the hottest Clubs in Florida. The Florida Clubs were their favorites … until they visited Freedom Acres. Their statement was that Freedom Acres is, without doubt, the best Club in the world! We had been told that we were the best in the US, but now the world.

Thank you to all that have helped us build and grow. Obviously you are what makes this magic happen.

 

10/26/2015  This week Halloween in on our minds. Halloween is our biggest party of the year. Halloween actually falls on a Saturday this year, Oct 31st.

The last time Halloween fell on a Sat. was in 2009, so I checked my records to see how many couples we did on those nights, Friday the 30th and Sat. the 31st. We had nearly 300 couples on both nights. And the prepays are coming in faster this year than they did that year, to get in 1/2 hour early.

Aree did an amazing job decorating with all the scary ghosts and goblins (with the help of her friends, of course Michael, Steve and Maria, Jennifer, your Resort Chef,  and Claudia, your Executive Secretary).

Check the newsletter for pictures of her work.

The Resort is just about sold out, and will be soon. We do provide a shuttle from the Resort to the Club and back.

When we first acquired the Club, Halloween was only slightly more popular than a regular Saturday party. However, with the constant upgrade of our decorations and the cash prizes for best costumes, we have grown to capacity. Every year we wonder which will be the bigger party, Halloween or NYE. We have never had to turn anyone away, but we have come close.

Hope to see you this weekend.. BOO!!

10/19/2015  I have gone through a very brief history of the Club, and more details will be forthcoming in the future. But in the meantime, I would like to thank all the members of the Club that have volunteered their time and sometimes their expertise and even some material items over the years.

For instance, the carpeting in the Club was donated by a Vice President of a casino. That was a $50,000 donation. His business had no use for it and needed to get it out of their warehouse.

I’m sure that is the most expensive donation we have had, but throughout the years, Members have donated many other things, such as commercial kitchen equipment from closed restaurants, bar stools and other furnishings, the light posts in the parking lot, a professional carpet cleaner, and other materials that we used for building and improving the Club, and other misc. items from paint and tile to mattresses, etc.

Of course, when items are donated, we try to return the favor with complimentary entrances.

When we finally ran out of projects to improve the Club because of the confines of our walls, along came the Resort.
The Resort gives us all the room we need to do any expansion we can do.

I did everything I wanted to do in the Club from Club proceeds and my own pocket book. However, the Resort has 40 acres of property that has the opportunity to exceed any Lifestyle Resort in the world.

However, Disneyland was not built over night, and even Walt had to use investors.
We are putting together our wish list and will soon develop a plan to move forward. So far we have put all proceeds from the Resort, (and my credit cards) into upgrading the deferred maintenance.

I will keep you posted in later blogs.

10/13/2015  The last bureaucratic organization that was involved with the disgruntled employee reports was the Fire Department. They could not inspect until the Health Dept had finished inspecting the hood in the kitchen. The Fire Dept had to inspect the fire suppressant system for the hood.

The inspector was a female about 35 years old and came in full formal dress with knife edge pressed uniform.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from that. She had to wait for several minutes while the fire suppressant system was charged. She said, “ While I wait, can I inspect the Club.” “Of course”, I Said. On an official visit the Club is hers to inspect anything she wants.

She then asked “May I go behind the bar?” I assured her that anything she wanted to do was O.K. with us.  She then said, “That’s what I wanted to hear, I’ve been looking forward to this inspection for a long time.”

That changed the whole tone of the inspection. I then treated her as a prospective customer, and gave her a full and complete tour of EVERYTHING.

She was very receptive and said she would be back. Needless to say, we passed the inspection.

10/7/2015  Before I continue the past history of Club FA, I would like to comment on some recent history. This past Friday we had a record a breaking attendance for a Friday that was not a holiday. We were celebrating the birthdays of Danny, our past Concierge and Lamont of Lamont and Rose.
We would like to thank Rich and Silvia of NDS, Rich and Melinda of Swinger House Party, Dennis and Tina of DMTA, Steve and Kim of Naughty O.C., Asia and Dom of Asia Sweet Sensations, Cris and Ella of Sweethearts, and, Fernando and Patty from Club Forbidden for attending and bringing many of their members with them to celebrate these birthdays. We would also like to thank Mary Jo and Mike for coordinating these many groups.

Now back to the more distant past. Before the Health Department arrived, the same week we had a visit from Building and Safety. Again, this was because of a call from a disgruntled past employee, and again, it was nervous time. We had done a lot of improvements over the years, and even though we made sure everything we did was up to code, we were operating “under the radar” and had not pulled permits. The Building and Safety Officer did a thorough inspection, and after finding nothing wrong, stated that he was satisfied and that he would just log the call as a crank call. That accomplished more than just being inspected. We were previously classified as being a non-conforming use.
Now we were classified as a LEGAL non-conforming use. This meant that I could now pull the permits I needed for the Health Department requirements.  That past employee does not realize what a favor he did for us by contributing to our being reclassified as a legal non-conforming use.

We live under a blessed umbrella.

 

9/30/2015  Late in 2011 I received a call from the Health Department, that someone had gotten food poisoning from the Club, and they wanted to come for an inspection. Obviously, since no one has gotten sick in 30 years at the Club from our food, this was a crank call. We later found out that a disgruntled employee that we had to let go, had made false reports to the Health Dept., Building and Safety, the Fire Dept., and Code Enforcement.

Since Code Enforcement had already been here to inspect they were satisfied that there were no violations.
Two ladies came from the Health Department came for the inspection. They were a little shocked at what they saw. When they saw the stairs behind the bar,  they asked what they were for. I told them for the ladies to get up and dance on the bar nude.
They then said that they would make their inspections when the Club was closed. They were very nice, but made the comment. “Russ, for 30 years we did not know that you were here, but now that we know, we have to bring you up to code.” That seemed reasonable to me, so I asked what needed to be done.  After they explained everything to me, I thought, O.K. that should take about two months and about $20,000.
Ten months and $80,000 later, we were ready for final inspection.

When they came for inspection, they were delighted. Not only did we do what was requested, but we upgraded the whole Club. They wrote us a very nice letter saying how delighted they were to work with us and it was such a pleasant experience for them to help us get up to code. “Yippee!” That was the last comment in their letter.  There is a copy framed in the kitchen for anyone that would like to read it.
My kitchen supply representative said that he had worked with the Health Dept. for over 30 years, and had never seen a letter like that.

Two bureaucrats down and two more to go.

9/23/2015  For years, Freedom Acres operated with no bureaucratic authorization or inspections. “We were under the radar”. Then, about ten years ago, we were contacted by Code Enforcement asking for an inspection. Paranoia set in. What did they want after we had been here approximately 24 years?

I called a Lifestyle Attorney friend of mine that practiced 1st amendment law in San Diego. He told me that he would be like molasses on a slanted board that had a marble rolling down. He could stall them but could not stop them. After about six months, we finally agreed to a date to meet. When they showed up, there was the Code Enforcement officer, his supervisor, A County of San Berdardino Supervisor, and his associate. My attorney from San Diego and I were in attendance. It was the middle of a bright sunny afternoon on a day that we were closed. When the Code Enforcement Supervisor entered the back bedroom area, his comment was “Damn Russ, it’s too bad you are adults only, my kid would have a ball in here.” I started to relax!

The next comment was near the lounge area. He said, “But Russ, you don’t have a sexually oriented business license.” My attorney chimed in, “That’s true, but that law came into effect in 1989 and we’ve been here since 1981, so we’re grandfathered in.” “Ah yes” said the Supervisor. The total inspection took about 1/2 hour.

The four of them then went out to the parking lot and had a discussion. While they were discussing, two undercover police officers walked by, obviously not here officially, as we were closed. They just came by to bull shit. They were members. They exchanged greetings with the Code Enforcement Officers. Obviously they knew each other.

After the group discussion was over, the Code Enforcement Officer came in and handed me three of his business cards and said “Russ, if you ever need anything, give me a call.”
That was the last I ever heard from Code Enforcement.

My attorney, after driving here from San Diego, spending several hours here and then driving back to San Diego, sent me a bill later for $200. It’s good to know people in the Lifestyle.

9/16/2015  As I mentioned in an earlier blog, there was no use of internet when we took over the operation of Freedom Acres.

At a private party early in our operation, Aree and I were partying with Tom and Bunny. Out of the blue, Aree told me, in front of Tom, that she wanted me to hire Tom. I told her that I had no position for Tom. This was awkward for Tom, as he was right there. She told Tom, never mind you will work for Freedom Acres. I had no idea of Tom’s capabilities, but Aree had made the call, so I went forward with her wishes.

Tom then brought us into the computer world, created a website, set up internet newsletters, and moved us out of the snail mail business, saving us both time and money.

Tom has taken on so many responsibilities of running the Club, that he was automatically moved into the position of Club Manager.

As an additional asset, we inherited Bunny, and she has done wonders taking over the bar and making members feel at home when they come to the Club.

Tom and Bunny also run the kitchen and, with volunteers, monitor the early cleanup on Sundays in preparation for the Sunday parties. This is not an easy job, as the Club is generally a mess from the Saturday night parties. The buffet menu is all Bunny’s, along with the recipes and the cooking. I hope she doesn’t ask for another Beep.  Again, how could I have been so wrong and Aree so right! Thank you Tom and Bunny.

9/9/2015  When we first took over the operation of Freedom Acres, Aree did all the cooking. Obviously that involved shopping for the week’s supplies, including bar supplies. We used liter bottles of soft drinks and containers of juices at the time. This was nearly a full time job. This was before we installed a professional bar with drink guns for soft drinks and juices.

Aree advertised at the local Thai video store for kitchen help. We hoped to get a compatible female person that could do the job. Instead, a male Thai person applied. Aree interviewed him, and found he had never worked in a kitchen before and did not know how to cook. I told her “no way”. Besides all the negatives previously mentioned, Thai men do not like to take orders from Thai women. But, Aree did it her way, and hired him That was how Beep came to Freedom Acres eighteen years ago. He learned the kitchen and the shopping. He soon took on the cleaning of the Club and doing the Club laundry which is about 700 towels and 100 sheets every week. Beep has NEVER missed one day’s work in 18 years. How could Aree be so right and I be so wrong?

Next week I will tell you how Tom and Bunny came to work at Freedom Acres.

9/1/2015  It seems like there was an endless list of projects that needed to be done to bring the Club up to our party standards.

The floors were bare wood and cement with occasional throw rugs. After carpeting with a passable carpet for a period of time, we hit the “carpet mother load”. A member was a vice president of one of the Las Vegas casinos and asked us if we would like some carpet that was stored and abandoned in one of his warehouses. Not only did we say yes, but “hell yes”. So we inherited $50,000 worth of the carpeting we have today.

The first flat wide screen TV was donated by one of our members who owned a TV sales store. That was back in the day when they were extremely expensive. Gradually we replaced the big, heavy, bulky tube TVs that were hung with chains and platforms, to the current flat screens we have today. For Super Bowl and special occasions, we have a large pull down screen that covers the whole back of the stage with a projector, that was donated by one of our members. Obviously, we have had many dedicated member that have donated items to the Club over the years. In order to show our appreciation, we thank them with free entrances.

I am going to jump ahead in history for the last paragraph of this week’s blog to give an update on this weekend’s party.

Approximately ten years ago Aree decided to do a patio BBQ for Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. We originally started small without realizing how popular it would become. Today we have six or seven BBQ grills with six or seven BBQ chefs, cooking everything that can be grilled. Also Aree’s Famous BBQ “T” shirts will be prominently worn with a different logo each year.  We have all the picnic fixin’s on the patio with seating arrangements there. We had to move the opening time from 8:00 pm to 7:00 pm because of the popularity and the large lines.

We open at 7:00 pm on Sunday and by 8:00 pm we will have over 100 couples in the Club. We don’t close until 6:00 am the next day. Over 200 couples attend on the Labor Day and Memorial Day parties.

This is another example of how we learn and grow at Freedom Acres.

 

8/26/2015 When we first took Freedom Acres over in 1997, we were open only Saturday nights.

Jan 16th 1998 we started Friday parties, and for the first month we averaged only 20 couples per party. We are now getting 90 to 100 plus couples per Friday party.

When we took over the Club we raised the price from $40 per couple to $50 per couple on Saturday night because Jerry was afraid the Club could not handle more than 100 couples. We had a huge hooded fireplace in the middle of the nightclub floor, and the pool table was also in the nightclub area.

We had couches and sit down tables around the fireplace and pool table. No wonder Jerry was afraid of getting more than 100 couples. The pool table was later moved to the lower area where the lounge currently is, beside a Jacuzzi. The fireplace was removed, and we replaced the sit down tables with the stand up tables.

The entrance into the nightclub area was a single doorway width. Some major engineering took place to open the entrance.

The lounge area of today was a huge Jacuzzi in 1997. That was a major remodel project to give us the lounge we now have with the DJ and dance floor facilities. Also the pool table had to be moved …again. We replaced the Jacuzzi with a smaller version on the patio, however the Health department did not approve, so we had to get rid of it. (We now have the Resort, so we don’t need a Jacuzzi at the club.)

We built the FA sports lounge to house the pool table.

The Red and Blue rooms were just patios, and had to be enclosed to make them usable for today’s crowds.

Smoking was allowed in the Club at the time, as was cell phones. Cell phones did not have cameras and smoking was not a known carcinogen. So later a smoking and cell phone patio was built…in stages.

So much for this week.

Tune in next week for the continuing saga

8/18/2015 In 1997 Jerry and Bobbi wanted to retire and move to Tennessee.
I tried to help them find a manager to run the Club for them, however everyone I suggested Jerry did not like. Finally, in frustration, I said, “Jerry, Is the Club for sale?” His response was, ” Hell Russ, everything’s for sale if the price is right.” So, after a few days negotiations, we struck a deal.

Now, I had another problem. My wife Aree was in Thailand and she did not much care for Freedom Acres. How was I going to explain this? This was the month of August 1981, and this was her birthday month. So when she arrived home, I said “Honey, I bought you a birthday present.”

Freedom Acres would not be the Club it is today without her constant help and encouragement. .

That’s another chapter in itself.

Tune in next week for more of the saga of Freedom Acres

 

8/10/2015

Jerry and Bobbi found an old abandoned school house build by the local residents. The construction was of the local mountain rock, of which there is plenty. The school house was originally built in 1924 with an addition in 1949, and functioned as a school house until 1968.

I submit that it is still a school house today, known as Freedom Acres.

Jerry originally purchased the building under the name of “The Anchor Institute of Applied Christianity” DBA Freedom Acres. Jerry was originally trying to use religious freedom as his right to operate a swing club. He was soon asked to abandon his work with Christianity as a front.

In 1981 Jerry went to San Bernardino County and asked for a license to operate. He was told that there was no such license in existence, so therefore, he was told to just open and operate. He did.  For the first seven years of operation Jerry and Bobbi had to work a second job to support the operation of Freedom Acres. It took their diligent efforts seven years to begin operating in the black.

Tune in next week for more of the saga of Freedom Acres

 

8/6/2015

Every venture has a beginning.

I began my entrepreneurship in the Swing World in partnership with a couple named Pete and Carla.
Pete found an ideal house in Fullerton in 1979. It was secluded and had ample parking, (the two biggies in the house party swing world)
For those of you that have experienced swing parties in Orange County, you know that O.C. is not a friendly environment for swingers.
It took the gendarmes two years to shut us down, but that is another story.

With the closing of Pete and Carla’s, the members had nowhere to go.
Shortly thereafter, Jerry and Bobbi approached me and asked to useour mailing list. This was before e-mail, for those of us that can remember ancient history. They said they had found another location.
Since I had no use for it, I gladly gave it up, and suggested he use Pete and Carla as their managers.
So I helped start Freedom Acres in 1981.

Please check back weekly as I will continue the saga of Freedom Acres.

Russ

12/13/2015  Again, as I mentioned last week, I am writing this blog from Thailand.
It is an interesting experiment and learning curve.
I have always maintained that our Club and Resort should be able to function normally with any key personnel absent. That was no problem with just the Club, but now that we also have the Resort, this is the first chance to test the theory.
Aree has only called me twice to ask operational questions. Tom of Tom and Bunny, our Club General Manager has stepped up to the plate and is handling the unexpected events that always occur. Jason and Candice are expanding the operations of the Resort with new programs and events.
So far, I am not missed!
But, in the meantime there is much to do here. I am investigating outsourcing companies to help relieve both the Club and the Resort. Tom has enough work to do for two management positions. Hopefully I can find a way to provide some relief.
I have a great tour guide that had shown me some of the insights of different nightclubs of Bangkok. Obviously there is always much to learn and help the Club and Resort improve and grow. For instance, check out the website www.Bangkoktreehouse.com.  We cannot go as far as they have with the Resort, but there are some good ideas here that we can use. As far as the club scene goes, there are many to experience and learn from. www.LevelsClub.com, or http://www.clubinsanitybangkok.com/ are just two of many. Again we should not try to copy, but learn from what we can use to improve Freedom Acres the Club.
I say this is a working vacation, but who is to say that I can’t “enjoy the ride”.
 
Until next week.
Miss you guys,
 
Russ
12/5/2015   As I mentioned in last week’s blog, I am writing this message from Thailand.
Although I have come to Thailand many times for vacation, this is a business trip.
With the exponential growth of the internet, and the constant changes in technology, it has become obvious that we need more technical help to keep our promotions and growth current in today’s world. For instance, social media has exploded.
Thailand has several outsourcing centers that can handle our social medial needs, as well as other potential needs on a daily basis. That will help free our management team to focus on the other aspects of the Club and Resort growth.
I plan on personally visiting some of these companies in the next several days to determine if there is a fit with our operations.
Also, along the lines of our business growth, we have a new member of our management staff.
Michael Wegmueller has joined us to do International Promotions. This is a much need position in our shrinking world. Michael is a Swiss national, and ran a successful business in Thailand for many years. He speaks five languages and is invaluable to attracting foreign tourists. He is responsible for getting us listed on domestic and international travel booking agencies and is constantly looking for ways to expand our market.  Welcome Michael.
Next week I will elaborate more on our progress through history and future expectations.
 
Have a great week. Russ
11/29/2015  To follow with the Disneyland analysis, here is some opening day history.
 
Few smiles could be found at the “Happiest Place on Earth” when Disneyland opened its gates for the first time on July 17, 1955. Epic traffic jams, counterfeit tickets, broken rides, food shortages and a lack of water on a 100-degree day all plagued the theme park’s unveiling. On the 60th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland, we look back at the day park employees dubbed “Black Sunday.”
Although we did not have such obvious problems when we took over Deer Park and renamed it Freedom Acres Resort, we had to undertake upgrading of what had been 20 years of neglect.
Deer Park had become known as a very cheap Nudist retirement home. The Park consistently lost money for years. No wonder needed repairs and upgrades could not be done. And, no wonder, initial investors could not see the Dream.
We doubled the income the first year of operation, and with constantly adding new rental units, the income continues to increase. During 8 months of the annual peak season, we consistently sell out on the weekends, with a waiting list. Obviously, we need more rental units to continue to increase our income and profits. However, cash flow alone will not pay for the cash required to purchase the needed units.
Therefore, in the near future, we will be offering investment packages to help grow the Dream. We are not Hedo II or Disneyland yet, but we have come a long way in a short time and have a long way to get to where we want to go.
Next week I will be writing you from Thailand.
Have a great week.
11/22/2015  As I talked about in the last blog, I am researching companies I admire to see how they “did it”.
 
We described Hedo in the last blog and this week I would like to talk about Disneyland.
I have been told in the past, that Freedom Acres is a Disneyland for adults. That’s quite a complement, but the dream has to get much bigger in order to come close to living up to that comparison. Thus I had to do a review of how Disneyland got where they are today.
 
Disneyland cost $17 million to build in 1955, about $116 million in today’s dollars.
In financing a Place of Dreams;
First comes finding funding. While Walt Disney put up much of his own money to make his dream a reality, as I have with the Resort, he didn’t have enough personal money to complete the project. I know the feeling! Disney then contacted financiers to help. But however much Walt Disney was enthralled with the theme park idea, the financiers he approached were not. Again, I know the feeling.
Many of the financiers could not envision the monetary rewards of Disney’s place of dreams. This is what I ran into when I attempted to purchase the Resort. To gain financial support for his project, Disney turned to the new medium of television. Disney made a plan with ABC: ABC would help finance the park if Disney would produce a television show on their channel. ABC was one of the original financial backers and for years owned a share of the park.
To purchase the Resort, I got the help of the seller, who is in the financing business, to help seal the deal.
 
I have too much information to put in this week’s blog, so part two will be forthcoming next week.
 
11/15/2015  Even though I started these blogs as the history of Freedom Acres, it is hard not to talk about the high successes we are having today and the plans for tomorrow.
Saturday night we had 118 couples come through the doors before 9:00 P.M. and claim the “before nine “ discount.
We ended up having well over 200 couples attend the night, with the dance floor full until DJ Intensity got off at 3:00 A.M.
As far as plans for “tomorrow”, I will have to talk about the Resort. I started doing some research on companies that I admire and would like to follow their plans of development.
Someone I might consider a competitor of the Resort is Hedonism II.
Hedonism II opened in 1976 as “Negril Beach Village” and was given its current name in 1982. The resort was built by the Government of Jamaica at a cost of $10 million The resort occupies 22 acres at the northern end of Negril beach and has 280 rooms in two-story buildings. A 50% interest in the hotel was bought by the SuperClubs in 1989. SuperClubs purchased the remaining 50% of the resort in 1999 from the Financial Sector Adjustment Company Limited,  a unit of the Government of Jamaica, for $12.25 million and I have heard there was another $10 million put into reconstruction.
Obviously, we can’t compete with that kind of financial input … at the present time. But with the beginning plans on the drawing board, we are on our way, one step at a time.
As I mentioned previously, we are sold out, with a waiting list, every weekend for our rentals during the spring, summer, and fall months. Therefore, obviously, we need to purchase more rental units to further increase our income.
With more income comes more expansion. We have 20 acres of vacant flat land that we have started to investigate for future development plus the 20 acres that we have already developed. That is nearly twice the size of Hedonism. We also have a giant “wish list” to improve our existing facilities.
I’m getting too excited talking about it, so I will close for now and continue next  week.

11/8/2015  Another good weekend is in the books. We will have the best year this year, we have had since the 2008 recession. We are already ahead of last year.
As I mentioned before, we had no more room to expand until the Resort opportunity presented itself. When we improved the Club, we were able to do it through the Club proceeds and input from Russ personally.
However, we had only one building and 4 acres. With the Resort, we have approximately 70 buildings and units and 40 acres. Russ is too impatient to wait to improve the Resort to get to the reputation that the Club has.
Therefore we will be putting together an investment plan for our members that want to be a part of history.

Tom was talking to the owner of Hedonism last week and was told the when he purchased Hedonism, it was in terrible shape. there are a lot of comparable s between early Hedonism and the Freedom Acres Resort.
He said it took him five years to get Hedo. to his satisfaction for operation.

The gross income at the Resort this year was 20% above last year and operationally above breakeven. We are sold out, with a waiting list, every weekend for our rentals during the spring, summer, and fall months. Therefore, obviously, we need to purchase more rental units to further increase our income.
If you are interested in becoming a part of Freedom Acres Resort history, please contact Russ at his personal e-mail, russaree@yahoo.com

11/3/2015   WOW!! Halloween made history this year at the Club.

We had the biggest Saturday night in the history of Freedom Acres. The costumes on both Friday and Saturday nights were phenomenal. There were many that deserved to be in the finals, but too many to bring on stage all at once. We were still checking in new couples at 3:30 in the morning.
D.J. Intensity did a fantastic job, and the upper dance floor was packed at 3:30 A.M. Arms were in the air and the excitement was electric.
D.J. Richie kept the more romantic, less energetic couples entertained in the lounge and had to work past his normal quitting time with popular demand from the crowd.
A couple came into the Club on Friday night that entertains on cruise ships, and as a result, has the opportunity to visit Lifestyle Clubs all over the world, including the hottest Clubs in Florida. The Florida Clubs were their favorites … until they visited Freedom Acres. Their statement was that Freedom Acres is, without doubt, the best Club in the world! We had been told that we were the best in the US, but now the world.
Thank you to all that have helped us build and grow. Obviously you are what makes this magic happen.
 

10/26/2015  This week Halloween in on our minds. Halloween is our biggest party of the year. Halloween actually falls on a Saturday this year, Oct 31st.

The last time Halloween fell on a Sat. was in 2009, so I checked my records to see how many couples we did on those nights, Friday the 30th and Sat. the 31st. We had nearly 300 couples on both nights. And the prepays are coming in faster this year than they did that year, to get in 1/2 hour early.
Aree did an amazing job decorating with all the scary ghosts and goblins (with the help of her friends, of course Michael, Steve and Maria, Jennifer, your Resort Chef,  and Claudia, your Executive Secretary).
Check the newsletter for pictures of her work.
The Resort is just about sold out, and will be soon. We do provide a shuttle from the Resort to the Club and back.
When we first acquired the Club, Halloween was only slightly more popular than a regular Saturday party. However, with the constant upgrade of our decorations and the cash prizes for best costumes, we have grown to capacity. Every year we wonder which will be the bigger party, Halloween or NYE. We have never had to turn anyone away, but we have come close.
Hope to see you this weekend.. BOO!!

10/19/2015  I have gone through a very brief history of the Club, and more details will be forthcoming in the future. But in the meantime, I would like to thank all the members of the Club that have volunteered their time and sometimes their expertise and even some material items over the years.

For instance, the carpeting in the Club was donated by a Vice President of a casino. That was a $50,000 donation. His business had no use for it and needed to get it out of their warehouse.

I’m sure that is the most expensive donation we have had, but throughout the years, Members have donated many other things, such as commercial kitchen equipment from closed restaurants, bar stools and other furnishings, the light posts in the parking lot, a professional carpet cleaner, and other materials that we used for building and improving the Club, and other misc. items from paint and tile to mattresses, etc.

Of course, when items are donated, we try to return the favor with complimentary entrances.

When we finally ran out of projects to improve the Club because of the confines of our walls, along came the Resort.
The Resort gives us all the room we need to do any expansion we can do.

I did everything I wanted to do in the Club from Club proceeds and my own pocket book. However, the Resort has 40 acres of property that has the opportunity to exceed any Lifestyle Resort in the world.

However, Disneyland was not built over night, and even Walt had to use investors.
We are putting together our wish list and will soon develop a plan to move forward. So far we have put all proceeds from the Resort, (and my credit cards) into upgrading the deferred maintenance.

I will keep you posted in later blogs.

10/13/2015  The last bureaucratic organization that was involved with the disgruntled employee reports was the Fire Department. They could not inspect until the Health Dept had finished inspecting the hood in the kitchen. The Fire Dept had to inspect the fire suppressant system for the hood.

The inspector was a female about 35 years old and came in full formal dress with knife edge pressed uniform.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from that. She had to wait for several minutes while the fire suppressant system was charged. She said, “ While I wait, can I inspect the Club.” “Of course”, I Said. On an official visit the Club is hers to inspect anything she wants.
She then asked “May I go behind the bar?” I assured her that anything she wanted to do was O.K. with us.  She then said, “That’s what I wanted to hear, I’ve been looking forward to this inspection for a long time.”
That changed the whole tone of the inspection. I then treated her as a prospective customer, and gave her a full and complete tour of EVERYTHING.
She was very receptive and said she would be back. Needless to say, we passed the inspection.

10/7/2015  Before I continue the past history of Club FA, I would like to comment on some recent history. This past Friday we had a record a breaking attendance for a Friday that was not a holiday. We were celebrating the birthdays of Danny, our past Concierge and Lamont of Lamont and Rose.
We would like to thank Rich and Silvia of NDS, Rich and Melinda of Swinger House Party, Dennis and Tina of DMTA, Steve and Kim of Naughty O.C., Asia and Dom of Asia Sweet Sensations, Cris and Ella of Sweethearts, and, Fernando and Patty from Club Forbidden for attending and bringing many of their members with them to celebrate these birthdays. We would also like to thank Mary Jo and Mike for coordinating these many groups.

Now back to the more distant past. Before the Health Department arrived, the same week we had a visit from Building and Safety. Again, this was because of a call from a disgruntled past employee, and again, it was nervous time. We had done a lot of improvements over the years, and even though we made sure everything we did was up to code, we were operating “under the radar” and had not pulled permits. The Building and Safety Officer did a thorough inspection, and after finding nothing wrong, stated that he was satisfied and that he would just log the call as a crank call. That accomplished more than just being inspected. We were previously classified as being a non-conforming use.
Now we were classified as a LEGAL non-conforming use. This meant that I could now pull the permits I needed for the Health Department requirements.  That past employee does not realize what a favor he did for us by contributing to our being reclassified as a legal non-conforming use.

We live under a blessed umbrella.

 

9/30/2015  Late in 2011 I received a call from the Health Department, that someone had gotten food poisoning from the Club, and they wanted to come for an inspection. Obviously, since no one has gotten sick in 30 years at the Club from our food, this was a crank call. We later found out that a disgruntled employee that we had to let go, had made false reports to the Health Dept., Building and Safety, the Fire Dept., and Code Enforcement.

Since Code Enforcement had already been here to inspect they were satisfied that there were no violations.
Two ladies came from the Health Department came for the inspection. They were a little shocked at what they saw. When they saw the stairs behind the bar,  they asked what they were for. I told them for the ladies to get up and dance on the bar nude.
They then said that they would make their inspections when the Club was closed. They were very nice, but made the comment. “Russ, for 30 years we did not know that you were here, but now that we know, we have to bring you up to code.” That seemed reasonable to me, so I asked what needed to be done.  After they explained everything to me, I thought, O.K. that should take about two months and about $20,000.
Ten months and $80,000 later, we were ready for final inspection.

When they came for inspection, they were delighted. Not only did we do what was requested, but we upgraded the whole Club. They wrote us a very nice letter saying how delighted they were to work with us and it was such a pleasant experience for them to help us get up to code. “Yippee!” That was the last comment in their letter.  There is a copy framed in the kitchen for anyone that would like to read it.
My kitchen supply representative said that he had worked with the Health Dept. for over 30 years, and had never seen a letter like that.

Two bureaucrats down and two more to go.

9/23/2015  For years, Freedom Acres operated with no bureaucratic authorization or inspections. “We were under the radar”. Then, about ten years ago, we were contacted by Code Enforcement asking for an inspection. Paranoia set in. What did they want after we had been here approximately 24 years?

I called a Lifestyle Attorney friend of mine that practiced 1st amendment law in San Diego. He told me that he would be like molasses on a slanted board that had a marble rolling down. He could stall them but could not stop them. After about six months, we finally agreed to a date to meet. When they showed up, there was the Code Enforcement officer, his supervisor, A County of San Berdardino Supervisor, and his associate. My attorney from San Diego and I were in attendance. It was the middle of a bright sunny afternoon on a day that we were closed. When the Code Enforcement Supervisor entered the back bedroom area, his comment was “Damn Russ, it’s too bad you are adults only, my kid would have a ball in here.” I started to relax!

The next comment was near the lounge area. He said, “But Russ, you don’t have a sexually oriented business license.” My attorney chimed in, “That’s true, but that law came into effect in 1989 and we’ve been here since 1981, so we’re grandfathered in.” “Ah yes” said the Supervisor. The total inspection took about 1/2 hour.

The four of them then went out to the parking lot and had a discussion. While they were discussing, two undercover police officers walked by, obviously not here officially, as we were closed. They just came by to bull shit. They were members. They exchanged greetings with the Code Enforcement Officers. Obviously they knew each other.

After the group discussion was over, the Code Enforcement Officer came in and handed me three of his business cards and said “Russ, if you ever need anything, give me a call.”
That was the last I ever heard from Code Enforcement.

My attorney, after driving here from San Diego, spending several hours here and then driving back to San Diego, sent me a bill later for $200. It’s good to know people in the Lifestyle.

9/16/2015  As I mentioned in an earlier blog, there was no use of internet when we took over the operation of Freedom Acres.

At a private party early in our operation, Aree and I were partying with Tom and Bunny. Out of the blue, Aree told me, in front of Tom, that she wanted me to hire Tom. I told her that I had no position for Tom. This was awkward for Tom, as he was right there. She told Tom, never mind you will work for Freedom Acres. I had no idea of Tom’s capabilities, but Aree had made the call, so I went forward with her wishes.
Tom then brought us into the computer world, created a website, set up internet newsletters, and moved us out of the snail mail business, saving us both time and money.
Tom has taken on so many responsibilities of running the Club, that he was automatically moved into the position of Club Manager.
As an additional asset, we inherited Bunny, and she has done wonders taking over the bar and making members feel at home when they come to the Club.
Tom and Bunny also run the kitchen and, with volunteers, monitor the early cleanup on Sundays in preparation for the Sunday parties. This is not an easy job, as the Club is generally a mess from the Saturday night parties. The buffet menu is all Bunny’s, along with the recipes and the cooking. I hope she doesn’t ask for another Beep.  Again, how could I have been so wrong and Aree so right! Thank you Tom and Bunny.

9/9/2015  When we first took over the operation of Freedom Acres, Aree did all the cooking. Obviously that involved shopping for the week’s supplies, including bar supplies. We used liter bottles of soft drinks and containers of juices at the time. This was nearly a full time job. This was before we installed a professional bar with drink guns for soft drinks and juices.

Aree advertised at the local Thai video store for kitchen help. We hoped to get a compatible female person that could do the job. Instead, a male Thai person applied. Aree interviewed him, and found he had never worked in a kitchen before and did not know how to cook. I told her “no way”. Besides all the negatives previously mentioned, Thai men do not like to take orders from Thai women. But, Aree did it her way, and hired him That was how Beep came to Freedom Acres eighteen years ago. He learned the kitchen and the shopping. He soon took on the cleaning of the Club and doing the Club laundry which is about 700 towels and 100 sheets every week. Beep has NEVER missed one day’s work in 18 years. How could Aree be so right and I be so wrong?

Next week I will tell you how Tom and Bunny came to work at Freedom Acres.

9/1/2015  It seems like there was an endless list of projects that needed to be done to bring the Club up to our party standards.

The floors were bare wood and cement with occasional throw rugs. After carpeting with a passable carpet for a period of time, we hit the “carpet mother load”. A member was a vice president of one of the Las Vegas casinos and asked us if we would like some carpet that was stored and abandoned in one of his warehouses. Not only did we say yes, but “hell yes”. So we inherited $50,000 worth of the carpeting we have today.
The first flat wide screen TV was donated by one of our members who owned a TV sales store. That was back in the day when they were extremely expensive. Gradually we replaced the big, heavy, bulky tube TVs that were hung with chains and platforms, to the current flat screens we have today. For Super Bowl and special occasions, we have a large pull down screen that covers the whole back of the stage with a projector, that was donated by one of our members. Obviously, we have had many dedicated member that have donated items to the Club over the years. In order to show our appreciation, we thank them with free entrances.
I am going to jump ahead in history for the last paragraph of this week’s blog to give an update on this weekend’s party.
Approximately ten years ago Aree decided to do a patio BBQ for Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. We originally started small without realizing how popular it would become. Today we have six or seven BBQ grills with six or seven BBQ chefs, cooking everything that can be grilled. Also Aree’s Famous BBQ “T” shirts will be prominently worn with a different logo each year.  We have all the picnic fixin’s on the patio with seating arrangements there. We had to move the opening time from 8:00 pm to 7:00 pm because of the popularity and the large lines.
We open at 7:00 pm on Sunday and by 8:00 pm we will have over 100 couples in the Club. We don’t close until 6:00 am the next day. Over 200 couples attend on the Labor Day and Memorial Day parties.
This is another example of how we learn and grow at Freedom Acres.

 

8/26/2015 When we first took Freedom Acres over in 1997, we were open only Saturday nights.

Jan 16th 1998 we started Friday parties, and for the first month we averaged only 20 couples per party. We are now getting 90 to 100 plus couples per Friday party.
When we took over the Club we raised the price from $40 per couple to $50 per couple on Saturday night because Jerry was afraid the Club could not handle more than 100 couples. We had a huge hooded fireplace in the middle of the nightclub floor, and the pool table was also in the nightclub area.
We had couches and sit down tables around the fireplace and pool table. No wonder Jerry was afraid of getting more than 100 couples. The pool table was later moved to the lower area where the lounge currently is, beside a Jacuzzi. The fireplace was removed, and we replaced the sit down tables with the stand up tables.
The entrance into the nightclub area was a single doorway width. Some major engineering took place to open the entrance.
The lounge area of today was a huge Jacuzzi in 1997. That was a major remodel project to give us the lounge we now have with the DJ and dance floor facilities. Also the pool table had to be moved …again. We replaced the Jacuzzi with a smaller version on the patio, however the Health department did not approve, so we had to get rid of it. (We now have the Resort, so we don’t need a Jacuzzi at the club.)
We built the FA sports lounge to house the pool table.
The Red and Blue rooms were just patios, and had to be enclosed to make them usable for today’s crowds.

Smoking was allowed in the Club at the time, as was cell phones. Cell phones did not have cameras and smoking was not a known carcinogen. So later a smoking and cell phone patio was built…in stages.

So much for this week.
Tune in next week for the continuing saga

8/18/2015 In 1997 Jerry and Bobbi wanted to retire and move to Tennessee.
I tried to help them find a manager to run the Club for them, however everyone I suggested Jerry did not like. Finally, in frustration, I said, “Jerry, Is the Club for sale?” His response was, ” Hell Russ, everything’s for sale if the price is right.” So, after a few days negotiations, we struck a deal.

Now, I had another problem. My wife Aree was in Thailand and she did not much care for Freedom Acres. How was I going to explain this? This was the month of August 1981, and this was her birthday month. So when she arrived home, I said “Honey, I bought you a birthday present.”

Freedom Acres would not be the Club it is today without her constant help and encouragement. .

That’s another chapter in itself.

Tune in next week for more of the saga of Freedom Acres

 

8/10/2015

Jerry and Bobbi found an old abandoned school house build by the local residents. The construction was of the local mountain rock, of which there is plenty. The school house was originally built in 1924 with an addition in 1949, and functioned as a school house until 1968.

I submit that it is still a school house today, known as Freedom Acres.

Jerry originally purchased the building under the name of “The Anchor Institute of Applied Christianity” DBA Freedom Acres. Jerry was originally trying to use religious freedom as his right to operate a swing club. He was soon asked to abandon his work with Christianity as a front.

In 1981 Jerry went to San Bernardino County and asked for a license to operate. He was told that there was no such license in existence, so therefore, he was told to just open and operate. He did.  For the first seven years of operation Jerry and Bobbi had to work a second job to support the operation of Freedom Acres. It took their diligent efforts seven years to begin operating in the black.

Tune in next week for more of the saga of Freedom Acres

 

8/6/2015

Every venture has a beginning.

I began my entrepreneurship in the Swing World in partnership with a couple named Pete and Carla.
Pete found an ideal house in Fullerton in 1979. It was secluded and had ample parking, (the two biggies in the house party swing world)
For those of you that have experienced swing parties in Orange County, you know that O.C. is not a friendly environment for swingers.
It took the gendarmes two years to shut us down, but that is another story.

With the closing of Pete and Carla’s, the members had nowhere to go.
Shortly thereafter, Jerry and Bobbi approached me and asked to useour mailing list. This was before e-mail, for those of us that can remember ancient history. They said they had found another location.
Since I had no use for it, I gladly gave it up, and suggested he use Pete and Carla as their managers.
So I helped start Freedom Acres in 1981.

Please check back weekly as I will continue the saga of Freedom Acres.

Russ